Lee Nez is a nightwalker, a Navajo half-vampire. He's also a New Mexico state police officer who has again teamed up with beautiful FBI agent Diane Lopez to infiltrate a smuggling ring made up of skinwalkersNavajo shapeshifters. Lee struggles with his vampire nature while endeavoring to hide the truth of the smuggling ring from his superiors and, with Diane's help, put a stop to the skinwalkers' illegal activities. Never mind the vampire stalking Diane and Lee, determined to destroy them for wiping out her clan.
This second installment in the Lee Nez vampire series expands on the intriguing Navajo legends at the heart of the story. Skinwalkers and nightwalkers have long been a part of Native American mythology, and the Thurlos employ those tales to great effect by setting them against the modern world. Unfortunately, narration and dialogue is a bit clunky at times, as the characters spend a lot of time explaining things to each other.
The mystery makes up for the occasional awkward exposition. The Thurlos are veterans of the Ella Clah mysteries, and their facility with deft plotting keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. Vampire aficionados will enjoy a look at nightwalkers from a unique cultural viewpoint, and mystery fans will relish the action and clever resolution. (Sep., 272 pp., $23.95)
Jen Talley Exum